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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Sep 22, 2012 10:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 45 Years Ago ...

... a lot was happening in Dead Land.

Robert Hunter came back to California from New Mexico, broke and messed up mentally after a foray into speed addiction and a weird broken ramble back to San Francisco, and was apparently taken immediately to a gig on a river where, as he sat around recovering, Jerry brought him the notes of what would become Dark Star.

The gig:

http://archive.org/details/gd1967-09-03.sbd.miller.43.sbeok.shnf

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it struck me while listening to Schoolgirl that there’s a Dark Star sound to those opening licks. Presumably Jerry got it from doodling around with this and that; why not Schoolgirl as part of the mix?

Supposedly it was listening to this Alligator that Hunter felt he’d found his “life calling.” He had written the first part, Pigpen wrote the bit with the old canoe and tennis shoe, and the band as a whole added a few lines. (The breakdown is at http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/alligato.html )

He finished Dark Star a few days later in Golden Gate Park.

A few weeks later, on the 2nd night of a run billed for absurd legal reasons as "Dance Lessons," on 9/30/67, Mickey played with the band for the first time. First joint tune: Alligator.

No recording on the archives, it seems :-(

And then, a split second later, on October 2, comes the bust at 710. Perhaps it's only fitting, given the essential absurdity, that there should be a connection to, of all things, Spinal Tap. As I was skimming through McNally's magnum opus, I found this:

"Because Danny (Rifkin) had difficulty with writing, their statement was drafted by his college buddy Harry Shearer (who many years later, would be part of the comedic rock band Spinal Tap)."

So there it is. The future mutton-chopped bass player Derek Smalls, prior to his stint in Spinal Tap and his challenges with zucchinis and airport metal detectors, was helping the Dead deal with the media during a crucial time in their musical history.

Granted, in "seven degrees of separation" style, you could probably link the Dead (or yourself or your kindergarten teacher) to absolutely anyone ... but still.

I don’t know if the statement itself is still around.

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Poster: stratocaster Date: Sep 23, 2012 5:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

serendipity

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Sep 24, 2012 5:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

Not only the spinal tap reference but Harry Shearer went on to become the man of many voices for years on the Simpsons.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Sep 23, 2012 8:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

I thought Garcia's playing in the 9/3/67 Dancing in the Streets was very Dark Star-esque.

Hunter would've been struck by Alligator since he'd mailed them just an incomplete verse, and now here it was, a whole huge song. Any poet might feel they'd found their calling!

The "statement" does survive - it was read at the press conference after the bust. Here it is:

"The arrests were made under a law that classifies smoking marijuana, along with murder, rape, and armed robbery, as a felony. Yet almost anyone who has ever studied marijuana seriously and objectively has agreed that marijuana is the least harmful chemical used for pleasure and life enhancement.
The law contains an even greater evil. It encourages the most outrageously discriminatory type of law enforcement. If the lawyers, doctors, advertising men, teachers and politicians who use marijuana were arrested today, the law might well be off the books before Thanksgiving. The law creates a mythical danger and calls it a felony. The people who enforce the law use it almost exclusively against individuals who threaten their ideas of the way people should look and act.
Behind all the myths is the reality. The Grateful Dead are people engaged in constructive, creative effort in the musical field, and this house is where we work as well as our residence. Because the police fear and misinterpret us, our effort is now interrupted as we deal with the consequences of a harassing arrest."

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Sep 23, 2012 7:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

Thanks. It reads as quite reasonable today; at the time, I bet a lot of people found it outrageous. Just how long ago that was, and how different, is pretty well underscored by their easy use of the term "advertising men." Very Mad Men-esque. Today we'd say "marketers."

But I think it leaves out part of the draft, in which, I believe, the words were "people engaged in constructive, creative effort in the musical field, turned up to 11 ..."

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Sep 23, 2012 11:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

Up to 11? That's so '80s. The Dead were turned up to TWELVE!

Unfortunately, as the statement says, the bust interrupted them in their creative work as they were composing their epic "The Twelve" - by the time they returned to practice, they'd forgotten the last part, hence, we have the Eleven...

But anyway. You say this was "long ago," but alas, legally speaking, the US has not progressed one bit in 45 years, and the statement is sadly still not out of date.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Sep 24, 2012 12:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

At least now they could argue medical reasons. "See, judge, these outdated laws were making us so sick ..."

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Poster: Reade Date: Sep 24, 2012 8:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

I always thought the way the band's lineup stayed intact over the years with the exception of the drummer, for which there was more or less a revolving door, was a tip of the cap to the GD and (at the time) their Pig/Keith/Brent keyboard spot. Not just in the turnover aspect but in how the changes were forced due to the physical demise of the incumbent.

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Poster: dustbowltom Date: Sep 23, 2012 11:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 45 Years Ago ...

"..messed up mentally after a foray into speed addiction..." um yeah that about says it all